Wednesday, August 10, 2011

She's home!

I returned home from Flowood in the wee hours of Monday morning and now just this evening when I got off work I got with my mum who had brought Lilly back in to town for me. Lilly looks great, she is so soft and fluffy right now. The spoiled little beastie is sporting a brand new halloween tag from Petsmart and is curled up next to me going to town on a bully stick. I'm so excited to have her home.

Which means stay tuned for your regularly scheduled broadcast to resume. ;)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bounce, bounce, bounce

Lilly and I had a blast this past Wednesday at agility class. Lilly still isn't taking part in the class, but hopefully when I get back from Flowood she will be ready. This week I discovered that Lilly goes absolutely gaga over balogna of all things. I personally hate balogna and have only managed to eat it without gagging while I was pregnant, however little miss Lilly things it's the best thing ever. This works in my favor because regardless of my personal tastes, I now have a power treat or super treat that trumps everything else. So, armed with several slices of balogna, Lilly and I trooped out to Pets Behave for agility class. I sat off to the side and worked on her sits and she's really making progress! It's so funny to be back at ground zero with a dog after I've been working with well-trained dogs like Clue and Ice.

Lilly thinks class is great!

Not only was she sitting on command, but she was so worked up and excited that I had her on leash and was able to jog through the agility field with her running beside me! This is a big thing for her because up until this point if I moved any faster than a casual walk she would just freeze or try to run the other way. But balogna got her worked into such a tizzy that she was running and bouncing with me. I am so proud of my little black sheltie! I'm really sad that I'm leaving for two weeks on Sunday. I'm gonna miss her, but Lilly will be in excellent hands. She is staying with my good friend Jen and her herd of shelties and border collies Clue and Mindy. Since he now lives with Jen, Clue is thoroughly convinced he is also a sheltie and has picked up their habits, too. I know it will be good for Lilly to be with the other dogs while I'm gone and am not worried about her at all. Plus she will get to see her little boyfriend Remington! ;D

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baby steps

Bit by bit my little black sheltie is coming out of her shell. We keep having these "bathroom breakthroughs" where she seems to progress. Thusfar I have been rewarded with sheltie spins, a couple barks, zoomies and jumping up with her front paws on my lap. All in the bathroom. I can get her hyped up in the living room too. I'm going to be making a point of taking her EVERYWHERE. I want her used to new places and people which will be important at Petsmart.

Lilly got her first taste of agility this past Wednesday! We mostly cruised the agility field to build confidence and work on attention, but she also was happy to go over several 8 inch jumps! At home I'm working hard to find a toy she really likes so we can work on toy drive too. it may or may not work, but I don't know until I try.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Training session, round 2!

So earlier today I established that Lilly is going to take a very gentle touch and to keep things fun and very positive. Right now I'm going to just stick with some tv training... very short sessions during commercial breaks. It's plenty of time to make the point without overloading Lilly and reinforces the idea that she's not the dog that I'm going to run a training session and expect to be able to cover multiple concepts in such a short time like I used to be able to do with Clue.

Earlier I was working on touch. I tend to like to charge the clicker in two ways. First I will give several click and treats ((and I have done a couple sessions of straight charging just to get her to catch on)) but then i quickly move in to introducing a concept. My favorite thing to jump into is teaching to touch the dogs nose to the end of a target stick because you can make it easy, the clicker is your marker and then you reward. I personally have found that it speeds things along. I presented Lilly with the target and the first touches were tentative, but after that as soon as she swallowed a treat her nose went right back for that target for another click and treat! Smart girl! I ended on that good note and now that she is offering the behavior, next training session we will introduce the cue!

Day 1 observations

Today I decided to start some of Lilly's formal training seeing as she's been settling in quite nicely. These homecoming zoomies are becoming a ritual that brings a smile to my face every time. She knows that a queen's rightful place is on the bed and is not the least bit shy about settling herself there or even trying to steal your spot. So once I rounded up part of my collection of clickers, the first thing that became apparent was that natural balance a.k.a. rollover is apparently sheltie crack. I mean, I've always had dog's like it, but Lilly went from calm into overdrive mode. If she gets this excited over working for it for agility, I will have an awesome little agility dog!

This little dog is really going to have me thinking though. She is very soft and very particular. If, for example, I were to use my hand to guide her into a sit, she shuts down. So the logical thing would be to figure ways to do everything hands free, but she doesn't just throw behaviors out there either. Lilly will definitely take a lot of patience and a very light hand. For the moment I'm opting to start with teaching her to touch her nose to a target and will go from there. It's definitely a different type of dog than I've worked in the past!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Just the right thing

I'll be vague in saying that I had a really crappy day at work. Add that to the frustration of a boyfriend who really doesn't seem to be in any sort of hurry to find a vehicle ((at the moment I'm having to drive his mom's piece of crap Cavalier)) and today I received news that I'm going to miss my son's first birthday because I will be out of town because of work. Needless to say I am rather out of sorts at the moment. The only thing I want to do is come home and cuddle with Lilly for a bit. Since she has been home, she has been reserved and quiet. But today, just when I need it most, I come home to a little black sheltie who is joyously doing zoomies and bouncing off the couch. Why? Because I came home. She may or may not realize it, but that is exactly what I needed right now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Every boy needs a dog in his life...

...and I think I've found the right one in Lilly. Young children perpetually have their volume cranked up to maximum 98% of the time and this doesn't phase my little girl in the least. I'm still diligently reinforcing "gentle" and Boogie is utterly fascinated with this dog. He enjoys her feet in particular and like to poke the bottom of her feet and the pads and between the toes. He only does this for a few minutes at a time and Lilly permits him and watches curiously. Today Boogie even found one of my pin brushes and I was showing how we gently brush out sheltie's tail. I'm so glad that my son will get to grow up with such a sweet and gentle dog.